Although you may not realize it, many of the deities of ancient Greece still play a role in our modern society. Apollo, the Greek Deity, was a name used for space missions for a very obvious reason.
Ancient Greece had a large pantheon of religious figures with each figure guarding over a different aspect of the world, or at least, daily Greek life. There were deities for important parts of life, such as war, and also for more mundane areas, such as cleaning and weaving. One of the most well-known deities in the Greek world was Apollo the Greek deity of many areas, including medicine, healing, music, poetry, archery and even plague.
Apollo the Greek deity was seen differently in later times, and as Roman deity of the same name. The Classical version of Apollo was the deity of the sun, taking the place of Helios. Apollo was also a patron of Delphi, which made him an oracle and able to tell the future and speak to mortals. He also became the deity that oversaw colonists, and was the patron defender of herds and flocks. Apollo's many different aspects were worshiped alternately in different areas of Greece.
The sun of the deity Zeus and mythical figure Leto, his twin sister was Artemis, deity of hunting and later the deity of the moon (a position usurped from Selene). His position diving prophecy at Delphi made Apollo one of the most important deity figures of Olympus. The cults (sects) that followed Apollo the Greek deity were quite distinct, unusual, because he had two areas that were devoted to him Delos and Delphi. Often, shrines of each cult would be found in the same city.
The most common symbols associated with Apollo were the lyre and the bow, along with occasional depictions of a plectrum and the sacrificial tripod, representing his powers of prophecy. The Pythean Games were held at Delphi every four years in honor of Apollo, with the laurel bay plant being used as the basis of crowns given to winners at his game. This was not the only plant sacred to Apollo, palms were often used in ceremonies regarding this deity because he was born under one in Delos.
Apollo was one of the most influential and powerful deities in the Greek pantheon. With two sites, Delos and Delphi, devoted to worshiping him, Apollo had many followers. He also governed many aspects of Greek life, so received more donations and tributes than many of his fellow deities. Today, Apollo is still revered by followers of revivalist Hellenic polytheism. As the Greek Deity of the sun, NASA seems to have liked him as well.